Exploring San Juan and Gulf Islands: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to beautiful island getaways in North America, the San Juan and Gulf Islands are top contenders. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures or tranquil retreats, these islands have something for everyone.


San Juan Islands

Located in the U.S., San Juan Islands consist of four main islands: San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, and Shaw. They offer diverse landscapes from rolling hills to rocky shores. Learn more about the San Juan Islands.

Gulf Islands

Situated in Canada, the Gulf Islands include Salt Spring, Galiano, and Mayne among others. They are known for their lush forests and artistic communities. Discover the Gulf Islands.

How to Get There

San Juan Islands

You can reach the San Juan Islands by ferry, private boat, or even a seaplane. The ferries often depart from Anacortes, Washington. Ferry schedules and more.

Gulf Islands

For the Gulf Islands, ferries depart from Vancouver and Victoria. You can also opt for private boats or seaplanes. BC Ferries for schedules.

Popular Activities

San Juan Islands

From kayaking to hiking, San Juan offers a variety of outdoor activities. Whale watching is a must-do here. Book your adventure today.

Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands are great for hiking, cycling, and sailing. Don’t miss the local farmers’ markets. Guide to Gulf Islands activities.


San Juan Islands

Accommodations range from luxury resorts to cozy cabins. Find your perfect stay.

Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands offer bed and breakfasts, camping spots, and more. Accommodation options here.

Unique Attractions

San Juan Islands

The Lime Kiln Point State Park is a famous lighthouse and an excellent spot for whale watching. Learn more.

Gulf Islands

Salt Spring Island is known for its Salt Spring Island Cheese and artistic community. Visit Salt Spring.

Food & Dining

San Juan Islands

Enjoy fresh seafood and local produce. San Juan dining guide.

Gulf Islands

Indulge in organic foods and local wines. Gulf Islands dining options.

Why is San Juan Islands famous?

The San Juan Islands are famous for their stunning natural beauty, including diverse landscapes ranging from rocky shores to forested hills. They are also renowned for outdoor recreational activities like kayaking, hiking, and whale watching. Whale watching, in particular, is a significant draw, as the islands are one of the best places to see orcas in their natural habitat.

What country does San Juan Island belong to?

San Juan Island belongs to the United States of America. It is part of the state of Washington and falls under U.S. jurisdiction. The San Juan Islands are situated between the mainland of Washington State and Vancouver Island, Canada, but they are American territory.

What islands are in the San Juan Islands?

The San Juan Islands archipelago comprises over 170 islands, though only a few are accessible and inhabited. The main islands that people usually refer to when talking about the San Juan Islands are San Juan Island itself, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and Shaw Island. There are also numerous smaller islands in the archipelago that offer their own unique attractions.

What are the four San Juan Islands?

The four main San Juan Islands are:

  1. San Juan Island: Known for the town of Friday Harbor and its historical sites, as well as various outdoor activities like hiking and whale watching.
  2. Orcas Island: Famous for Moran State Park and Mount Constitution, it offers hiking, boating, and panoramic views.
  3. Lopez Island: Known for its cycling-friendly terrain and the welcoming community, it’s great for a peaceful retreat.
  4. Shaw Island: The smallest of the four main islands, Shaw Island offers a quieter experience and is ideal for a tranquil getaway.

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Whether you choose to visit the San Juan or Gulf Islands, you’re guaranteed a memorable experience. Each island group offers its own unique attractions and activities. Choose your ideal island getaway today.

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for an unforgettable island experience, you can’t go wrong with either the San Juan or Gulf Islands. With their unique charms and activities, these islands are worth exploring.

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